County to Hire Outside Agency to Find Cause of Election-Day Ballot Troubles

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Los Angeles County will hire a third-party investigative agency to help determine why the names of thousands of residents were omitted from voter rolls during Tuesday's primary election, leading to confusion at the polls that left some wondering if they would be able to cast a ballot.

``I believe it is critical to have an independent third-party assessment of the incidents and a comprehensive analysis with reported findings, recommendations and evaluation to bolster the security protocols employed in future elections and to provide a full explanation to our electorate, Board of Supervisors and stakeholders,'' county Registrar- Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan said in a prepared statement.

According to county officials, the outside contractor will ``conduct a detailed review of systems, procedures and verification of the roster print job to identify exactly what occurred and to identify corrective actions -- technically and operationally.''

The snafu, blamed initially by the county on a printing error, affected the voter rolls at 1,530 of the 4,357 precinct locations. A total of 118,522 voters' names were omitted from the lists, according to the county. That represents roughly 2 percent of registered voters.

Logan said people whose names weren't on the roster when they showed up at the polls were given provisional ballots to ensure that they would be able to vote. But County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl said Wednesday that one of her deputies whose name was omitted was told to try another polling place and had to ask five times before someone agreed to give her a provisional ballot.

On Wednesday, county elections officials estimated that about 141,000 provisional ballots from Tuesday's election still needed to be tabulated. In addition to provisional ballots, an estimated 358,700 vote-by-mail ballots still needed to be counted, along with 3,970 miscellaneous ballots that are damaged, include write-in candidates or otherwise need verification.

On Friday, Logan's office issued its first ballot-counting update, having tabulated 83,267 ballots since Tuesday. According to the county, the number of outstanding provisional ballots left to be counted as of Friday was 139,050, along with 296,380 mail-in ballots and the 3,970 miscellaneous ballots.

Another update is scheduled to be released Tuesday.

Photo: Getty Images

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